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Annual Meeting of the Coalition Partners
March 26 & 27, 2011

Saturday March 26th. 2011

 8:30am - 9:00am – Welcome

 9:00am - 9:30am – Ice Breaker & Introductions

 9:30am -12:30pm – Year in Review Reports

- Message from the Chair
- KAP Report
- Media Report
- DSM and proposed nee DSM brochure sample
- Consent Counts

12:30pm - 1:30pm – Working lunch

 1:30pm - 1:45pm – Break

 1:45pm - 2:45pm– Year in Review Reports (continued)

- EOP Training and Program
- Incident Response
- 2010 Financial Review and 2011 approved budget

2:45pm - 4:15pm ? Break Out Groups – Where are we going??

4:15pm - 5:00pm – Wrap up break out groups & adjourn

 Sunday – March 28th, 2011

9:15am - 9:30am – Welcome

9:30am - 9:45am – NCSF’s Volunteer of the Year

9:45am - 10:30am – Elections

10:30am - 10:45am ? break

11:00am - 12:00pm – Additional Committee Reports

- IT Report – Let’s see the new website!
- Form Library Report
- 2012 Budget draft proposal

 12:00pm - 12:15pm – Take aways

1:00pm - 4:00pm – Media Training and Consent Counts – open to community

1:00pm - 2:00pm – new board meeting

2011 Letter from the Chair

Hello and welcome to NCSF’s 2011 annual meeting!

I am so glad to welcome all of you to Boston. It’s our first time here and we’ve been very fortunate to have the hard advance work and efforts of Boston community – particularly Opn, Kali and Vivienne Kramer. 

As chair, I started my term in September 2008 with several goals.

  • Improve NCSF communications both internally among board and among volunteers, to our Coalition Partners, to our communities in general and to the public as a whole.


I believe we've hit our stride and are now doing things much better than we have in the past. In all years prior to September 2008, we published exactly 3 quarterly newsletters? two in 2003 and one in 2006. We’ve published a newsletter ever quarter since I became chair. We’ve published our minutes to the CP list every single month. I’ve written notices/letters to the membership every month. We’ve kicked up our press and media alerts and switched to using Constant Contact to make our mail outs more professional. 

  • Improve the structural integrity of the organization and set up processes and procedures for our most important functions/programs 


With the implementation of SalesForce now have a solid foundation under which we can build our donors, members, conduct campaigns, etc. NCSF has been incredibly fortunate to get strong volunteer talent board on the board and in key organizational positions. It is true that we are nothing without our volunteers? especially in an organization that has only part?time paid administrative help. As we've broadened our SalesForce integration into our organization, we've connected it to our website and we've created customer service portals for both IR and KAP administration. In addition, we hope to have a fully functional customer service portal for our CPs by mid?year.

  • Develop new literature and programs as part of NCSF’s “Value Proposition” 


One of the things we’ve developed in the last year is what we’re calling NCSF’s “Value Proposition”. We’ve created it as a guide to keep NCSF focused on what our core programs and values are. We have new handouts on child custody, child protective services, event insurance, how to find and event location and a template for an event briefing book. We’ve also developed new formal handouts – one for therapists about Polyamory and one for how to find a Kink Aware Therapist. 

  • Be the leader. The DSM and Consent Counts projects. 


NCSF is the leader and the only organization in the country working on these issues. Susan? particularly with her work on the DSM has led the way for some major successes for NCSF this year. Judy Guerin has become involved again with NCSF and is taking the lead in our Consent Counts project. Both of these projects will be on the front burner for us for the next 3? 5 years. 

We’re making terrific strides and have had some major “wins” this year. You'll see our new website has gone live? finally! Its been a huge project for us but we like our finished product and hope you do too. We’re Twittering and blogging now. We have a strong marketing plan in place. 

In short, I’m excited about the progress we’re making and hope you are too!

Leigha Fleming
Board Chair

KAP (Kink Aware Professionals) Report 2010

March 16, 2011

From: Kevin Carlson, KAP Coordinator

RE: Report on the Kink Aware Professional List for the NCSF 2011 Annual Coalition Partner Meeting.

This has been a very busy year, as the Kink Aware Professionals list continues to grow and change.  This resource is consistently the top resource accessed on our website. Something I am quite proud of. In the past twelve months a lot has happened.

I completed the first level purge of invalid data from the list. We did a survey in preparation for the website redesign. A good portion of that survey dealt with KAP. All entries in the KAP system were extracted down to name and email address. This list was added to our constant contact and the survey was sent out to them also. From the failed email returns from this mass emailing, I was able to further able to examine the fails to see if any other possible simple means of contact was in the listing. If such was, I made further effort to contact them asking them to update their listing. Those responding were left in the list and those that did not were removed. The total entries removed were 146 of the 880 we had listed.  This was a major accomplishment in preparation of deployment of the new KAP pages on our website. In addition it made our list that much more accurate.

The new KAP pages on our website were deployed on February 27th, simultaneously, we sent notification to all listed informing them of the change to the system and asked them to update.  As of this report we have had 167 (56 the first day, it was a Sunday) entries updated by the person listed.

The old system on the website consisted of; Name, Location, Category, Actual Listing and email address (this email address was invisible to the end user). Numerous times the listing did not have accurate contact information because the person making the listing assumed the email address was included in the listing and not invisible.  You could only search the list by either location or category.

The new system a person’s listing is much more complex. Some fields are required and others are optional. The focus was to make it simple to contact someone.  Many of these fields were motivated by the survey.  The new fields are (*=required);  Entry Title*, First Name*, Last Name*, Credentials (Phd, M.D., MSW, and LSW), Kink Awareness* (Kink-Friendly, Kink-Aware, or Kink-Knowledgeable. A self gauge by those listing to rate their Kink Awareness and convey this to the potential Client), Insurance Accepted, Email*, Website, Company Name, Street Address Line 1, Street Address Line 2, County, City*, Postcode*, Phone, Practice Description, Ability to load a picture (160x160 pixels), Meta Data & Description, Up to 2 Categories (Doctors, Counselors, Lawyers etc.)

The Search capacity was greatly expanded.  In short it is possible to search by any of the above fields or for specific words in a listing. I tried a search for the word “shoe” and got a result.

Zip code and actual address are a major addition to the total package. We can now provide a Google map of at least the area of town someone is in based on the zip code. The more of the address they put in the more accurate the Google map become.

The output pages of the searches or just browsing are very professional and appealing to the eye.

What a listing looked like on our old page;

Kap Old Website

What it looks like now;

KAP New Format

As you can see, quite a change in look and feel. The information for the listing is much simpler to find, allowing for better matches for what the end user is seeking.

I will be sending out another notice to those that have not responded to the first one about the change to the system April 1st and again on May 1st.  Then I will begin individually contacting those who have not updated.

All entries from now on will automatically be reminded once a year to update their listing. I will be receiving a monthly report of who these notices were sent out to. If no update is made within 15 month the entry will be removed from the listing. Again I will receive a report of who the system removed and I will have the option of overriding the system and keeping the entry active.  2012 is going to be fun.

When the last annual report was given, we had 796 entries and as of this report 813. Even with the purge of 146 entries, we are bigger and better than we were last year. We have had and addition of 179 entries since the last annual report.

With the deployment of the new KAP pages and the accuracy of the information, it will be a simple matter over the summer to develop a marketing strategy to greatly expand the number of listings as well as the number of people who use KAP as a resource.

The numbers since our last annual meeting in March of 2010;

 KAP 2010 Country


KAP 2010 Profession 


KAP 2010 US Only



2010 Media Report - Susan Wright

In 2010, NCSF assisted in 22 media incidents. Susan gave 38 interviews to the media including:

Washington Examiner, Washington Post, Gazette, Channel 4 News, ABC News, Channel 5 Fox, Channel 9 News, and CBS New York – interviews on British Lucky Paul’s parties

 Village Voice, Time Out NY, Next, Parle Magazine – about Folsom Street East

Archives of Sexual Behavior – requested a Letter to the Editor on the proposed DSM revisions to depathologize the consensual paraphilias

Associated Press – Maryland law to ban 1st cousins from marrying

Associated Press – regarding consent and the Ed Bagley case in Missouri St. Louis Post Dispatch – regarding consent and the Ed Bagley case in Missouri

Riverfront Times – one interview on the “coming out” of Kendra aka The Beautiful Kind, and a second interview on the repercussions when her child custody was challenged.

AASECT Contemporary Sexuality – sexual privacy on the Internet

AlterNet – one article on BDSM submissives, and another on discrimination and child custody ? about TES Fest and BDSM community

NBC Bay Area – a report on polyamory

Community Assistance

Susan gave pre?event assistance to: Dark Odyssey’s Winterfire in Washington D.C., Folsom Street East in New York City, SinSations in Leather and Kinky Kollege in Chicago, TES Fest in New Jersey, and the Boise BDSM Society.

Susan gave media trainings for: the NCSF Annual CP meeting in Portland, NYC Poly Pride conference, and the Boise BDSM Society spokesperson.

Media Updates are now being posted daily on the NCSF blog at

To receive the Media Update Digest, email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


DSM Revision Project - 2010 Report

Submitted by: Susan Wright

The American Psychiatric Association's Paraphilias Subworkgroup has agreed:Kinky is NOT a Diagnosis! NCSF has worked very hard with its DSM Revision Project to make sure changes are made to the Paraphilias section, and we continue to strongly advocate for clear language of what exactly constitutes a mental disorder.

In early 2010, the new proposals for the DSM?V were publicized stating that alternative sexual behavior would be depathologized. The American Psychiatric Association's Paraphilias Subworkgroup acknowledged that you can be a fetishist, transvestite, sexual sadist or sexual masochist without having a mental disorder (in the Rationale section under each diagnosis): 

“The first broad change follows from our consensus that paraphilias are not ipso facto psychiatric disorders. We are proposing that the DSM?V make a distinction between paraphilias and paraphilic disorders. A paraphilia by itself would not automatically justify or require psychiatric intervention. A paraphilic disorder is a paraphilia that causes distress or impairment to the individual or harm to others. One would ascertain a paraphilia (according to the nature of the urges, fantasies, or  behaviors) but diagnose a paraphilic disorder (on the basis of distress and impairment).  In this conception, having a paraphilia would be a necessary but not a sufficient condition for having a paraphilic disorder." 

These revisions have had an impact on all of NCSF’s advocacy efforts in 2010—child custody, job discrimination battles, and even in the media. These proposed revisions in the DSM are helping to change the way society views us. Five years ago, NCSF’s success rate was approximately 20% when it came to refuting the false contention that a parent is unfit because they’re involved in BDSM, swinging or polyamory. Today, that success rate has risen to 50%.

Susan was asked by the editor of the Archives of Sexual Behavior to submit a Letter to the Editor regarding the proposed DSM changes. In the letter, entitled “Depathologizing Consensual Sexual Sadism, Sexual Masochism, Transvestic Fetishism, and Fetishism,” Susan stated that the Paraphilias Subworkgroup must now reconsider what constitutes "clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning" when determining a mental disorder. The DSM must make it clear that people do suffer distress and impairment because of the societal stigma against alternative sex, but that doesn't mean they are suffering distress that is generated internally. 

NCSF’s DSM Revision Project will continue to respond as needed until these revisions are finalized and published in 2013.

Panel 1:

DSM Revision Project: Kinky is NOT a Diagnosis

Panel 2:

The American Psychiatric Association's Paraphilias Subworkgroup has agreed in their proposals for their next Diagnostic & Statistic Manual: Kinky is NOT a Diagnosis!

NCSF has worked very hard through our DSM Revision Project to make sure changes will be made to the Paraphilias section of the DSM, and we continue to strongly advocate for clear language of what exactly constitutes a mental disorder.

The proposed revisions for the DSM are already helping to change the way society views kinky people. It had an impact on all of NCSF’s advocacy efforts in 2010—child custody, job discrimination battles, and even in the media.

Five years ago, NCSF’s success rate was approximately 20% when it came to refuting the false contention that a parent is unfit because they’re involved in BDSM, swinging or polyamory.Today, that success rate has risen to 50%.

Panel 3:

NCSF Brings the Evidence

Over 3,000 people signed NCSF’s DSM Revision Petition urging the APA to depathologize sexual behaviors by consenting adults that are included in the DSM TR-IV: Sexual Sadism, Sexual Masochism, Transvestic Fetishism and Fetishism. Many of the comments were made by mental health professionals denouncing the inclusion of BDSM in the DSM.

Over 3,000 kinky people participated in the survey of Violence & Discrimination Against Sexual Minorities in 2008. This survey proved the damage that is being done to consenting adults by the inclusion of alt sex behaviors in the APA’s DSM.

Over 37% of the survey respondents indicated that they had either been discriminated against, had experienced some form of harassment or violence, or had some form of harassment or discrimination aimed at their BDSM-leather-fetish-related business. This persecution is a direct result of the false stereotype that people who do BDSM are “mentally ill.”

Panel 4:

The Proposed Changes

In early 2010, the new proposals for the DSM-V stated that alternative sexual behavior between consenting adults would be depathologized. The American Psychiatric Association's Paraphilias Subworkgroup acknowledged that you can be a fetishist, transvestite, sexual sadist or sexual masochist without having a mental disorder:

          "The first broad change follows from our consensus that paraphilias are not ipso facto psychiatric disorders. We are proposing that the DSM-V make a distinction between paraphilias and paraphilic disorders. A paraphilia by itself would not automatically justify or require psychiatric intervention. A paraphilic disorder is a paraphilia that causes distress or impairment to the individual or harm to others. One would ascertain a paraphilia (according to the nature of the urges, fantasies, or behaviors) but diagnose a paraphilic disorder (on the basis of distress and impairment). In this conception, having a paraphilia would be a necessary but not a sufficient condition for having a paraphilic disorder." (1)

(1) Under the Rationale section in each Diagnosis:

Panel 5:

Work Still To Be Done

The proposed revisions won’t be instated until 2013, and the current proposal could be changed in ways that could harm consenting adults who engage in alt sex behaviors.

The Paraphilias Subworkgroup must reconsider what constitutes "clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning" when determining a mental disorder. The DSM must make it clear that people do suffer distress and impairment because of the societal stigma against alternative sex, but that doesn't mean they are suffering distress that is generated internally.

NCSF’s Letter to the Editor was published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior warning the mental health community of the consequences of continuing to conflate sexual behavior with mental illness: “Depathologizing Consensual Sexual Sadism, Sexual Masochism, Transvestic Fetishism, and Fetishism.”

Panel 6:

To support the DSM Revision Project as well as NCSF’s ongoing programs, go to

Contact the Director of the DSM Revision Project, Susan Wright at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

NCSF’s address

Consent Counts

History of Consent Counts

  • NCSF hosted a leather leadership roundtable at the 2006 Creating Change Conference. It was determined that the number one priority of the BDSM/Leather/Fetish communities was decriminalization of BDSM.
  • A second roundtable met at the Leather Leadership Conference of 2007 to determine priorities and responsibilities.
  • A lengthy public process, including questionnaires gathered by events/groups was conducted.
  • It was determined that NCSF should lead this effort & Judy Guerin agreed to direct the project for NCSF in August, 2009
  • Legal research of state and federal case law and law review articles was conducted. It was determined that consent has not been allowed as a defense in any state or federal court in charges of assault arising from BDSM acitivity. NCSF has developed a library of cases and law review articles on this topic.
  • NCSF has been doing outreach and education on the topic, has developed educational programs and materials, draft policy and best practices statements for consensual BDSM activity, and has developed thoughts on various strategic approaches. These are being discussed this year at Creating Change, NCSF’s annual meeting, the Leather Leadership conference and various other cities
Consent and BDSM: The State of the Law

  • The sad fact is that criminal law treats consensual BDSM as violence, not as mutually pleasurable sex.
  • It is prosecuted as criminal assault—one person causing physical harm—injury or intense pain—to another person.
  • Because BDSM is treated as violence, consent is not allowed as a defense. 
That is the key issue for our campaign: to persuade the courts and society that “Consent Counts” and that consent should be allowed as a defense to a criminal prosecution based on BDSM activity.

How Did the Law Become So Bad for Us?

  • If you look at criminal statutes, you might not conclude that we have this problem
  • The Model Penal Code, for example, seems to allow consent unless the bodily injury consent to is “serious”.
  • And, it defines “serious bodily injury” as “injury which creates a substantial risk of death or which causes permanent disfigurement.
  • But despite such statutory language, every single court decision rejects consent as a defense in BDSM cases.
  • Even where we would regard the “injury” as trivial—dripping hot wax, attaching nipple clamps, etc.—the courts find it to be “serious” and reject the consent defense.
  • You might also think that we would have the sort of privacy protection that the Supreme Court established for sodomy and other sexual practices in the 2003 Lawrence v. Texas decision.
  • But the courts have refused to apply Lawrence to BDSM. Why? Lawrence dealt with sex, and BDSM is violence and the crime is “criminal assault”.
  • All of this goes back over 40 years, to a California decision in the 60s (People v. Samuels) and a 80s Massachusetts case (Commonwealth v. Appleby). Those cases found BDSM to be criminal assault and ruled that consent is no defense to assault charges.
  • The context in which those cases were decided is important:
  • These initial decisions involved BDSM between gay men.
  • In the 60s the DSM criteria of the American Psychiatric Association defined both homosexuality and BDSM as mental illnesses.
  • In the 80s, homosexuality was no longer defined by the AMA as a mental illness, but this was the beginning of the AIDS crisis and anti-gay prejudice was intense. And the AMA’s DSM criteria still defined BDSM as a mental illness.
  • Much has changed since then in our society and in our laws. Gay sex is now widely tolerated and, under Lawrence, no longer criminal. The DSM criteria, while far from perfect, changed in 1994 to define BDSM so that it was not automatically a mental illness (but still can be and frequently is defined that way). 
  • But the courts have not changed their view that BDSM is violent criminal assault and that consent is no defense.Every single decision has followed the rule established in the Samuels and Appleby cases.
  • 166 criminal cases were recorded in 2010 via the NCSF incident response hotline—a significant increase over 2009 and likely the “tip of the iceberg”.


So, How Do We Go About Changing the Law?

Educating society, the legislatures and courts that:
  • What we do is not a violent assault but mutually pleasurable consensual erotic activity (or a sexual orientation?, or??)
  • Our communities support safeguards and educate our people on best practices, including safe words, negotiation of scenes in advance, monitors, guidelines and—most important—insistence that there be informed consent and that any withdrawal of consent must be respected.
  • And there are millions of tax paying and law-abiding Americans who engage in BDSM. 


Changing the DSM Criteria
  • In 1994, in DSM IV, BDSM was made a mental illness only for those people in whom it causes “clinically significant distress”. Although this was an improvement, the diagnosis is still used against BDSM practitioners in healthy relationships and there continues to be a stigma attached to consensual BDSM.
  • Today NCSF is working to influence the forthcoming DSM V, in which we hope that an explicit distinction will be drawn between consensual and non-consensual BDSM.


Building on legal principles that are favorable to us, but that have not been applied to BDSM cases:
  • The right of privacy and particularly its application to sexual practices in Lawrence v. Texas and previous reproductive rights and birth control rulings.
  • Freedom of speech, expression and right to assemble.
  • The distinction between “assault”—which is intentional violence and to which consent is no defense—and “battery”, which is simply the infliction of harm in which consent is generally allowed as a defense, and which is generally not prosecuted in the context of sexual activities.
  • “Right to Die” (and control your body) arguments based on the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights. The “harm” that may be done in BDSM should not be treated more harshly than sports injuries, body modification, tattooing, etc.
  • And possibly treatment of BDSM practitioners as a sexual minority and the application of criminal assault laws to consensual BDSM as discrimination against that minority.


The Consent Counts Project

  • Working to change the DSM criteria of the American Psychiatric Association to eliminate the stigma associated with BDSM, cross-dressing and fetishism.
  • Analysis of the case law and law review articles—Developed a resource database, potential strategies and suggested approaches for community discussion
  • Educational programs for our communities, the public, law enforcement, prosecutors and attorneys (including a CLE program for attorneys and outreach to law schools).
  • Development of a “Best Practices” statement and workshops to stimulate community dialogues and increase awareness.
  • Filing amicus briefs in selected legal cases.
  • Cooperation with other organizations.
  • Promoting and refining the “model laws”. 
  • Eventually, working to pass legislation if necessary.

Consent Counts Accomplishments

  • Developed Brochure, Power Point Presentation, FAQ, Best Practices Statement, Legal Research Data Base, Potential Strategies
  • Formed a small, but solid legal committee and group of advisors
  • Did significant outreach and education on consent and Consent Counts
  • Did outreach to sexual freedom advocacy allies
  • Were featured in an article in the Folsom Street Program and promotion
  • Increased funding and awareness

Goals for 2011/2012

  • Increase funding 20% annually
  • Develop & launch CLE program and law school outreach program
  • Develop Staff & Project Organization
  • Refine educational programs
  • Promote & refine model laws
  • Continued auxiliary legal research
  • Increased outreach and dialogue within our communities, allies, the media and the broader public
  • Filing amicus briefs in selected legal cases
  • Working to educate law enforcement and prosecutors and encourage prosecution of battery versus assault in legal BDSM criminal charges involving claims of consent 
  • Working legislatively to change laws, as appropriate

NCSF-EOP ©2011-2012

Consent Counts: FAQ

What is consent?

For our purposes, consent is the explicit indication, by written or oral statement, by one person that he/she is willing to have something done to him/her by one or more other persons, or to perform some sort of act at the request or order of one or more other persons. In terms of sexual consent, consent may be withdrawn at any point, regardless of what has been previously negotiated orally or in writing.

Is a scene contract legally enforceable?  

A scene contract is not a legally binding contract, and will not be enforced or recognized by any court.

Can someone give consent in advance? What happens if they withdraw consent mid scene? 

Even if a scene has been pre negotiated, or even committed to writing, a submissive can withdraw consent at any time.That withdrawal must be honored and acted upon immediately. There really are not any exceptions. 

How does use of drugs or alcohol change one's ability to consent? 

Any altered state of mind affect’s one’s ability to consent.  The consenter must be able to knowingly understand the impact of the consent given. Accordingly, the freedom of consent is directly a function of the ability to consent. Bluntly, consent obtained from someone who is too drunk or high to consent is no consent at all.

What happens if a submissive gets so into "sub space" that they lose the ability to communicate?

This can pose a potential legal problem, similar to a submissive’s overuse of drugs or alcohol.  The consenter may later claim a desire –  but  inability  –  to  withdraw  consent.  The  sensible  solution  is  for  the  dominant  partner  to  pay  attention,  and  to proceed  with extreme caution with any planned scene activities, particularly when the submissive partner reaches a deep “sub space”.

Can someone who is mentally challenged consent?   

While  those who  are  mentally  challenged  certainly  should  have  the  right  to  sex,  they  may not be  capable of  a  level of  knowing consent that a court would recognize.  Consequently, it can only be said that consent given by someone that has a mental disease or defect cannot be accepted with confidence.

Why is NCSF focusing on decriminalization versus legalization? 

In addition to the fact that legalization is more difficult to achieve politically and socially, legalization opens the door for increased government regulation, which is not to our advantage.

What is the legal difference in using “safe, sane and consensual” versus “RACK” (Risk Aware Consensual Kink)?

“Safe, sane and consensual” is a term developed by the leather community over a period of many years `and is  the basis  for the BDSM versus Abuse statement.  RACK is a more recent term and poses  a potential legal problem for those who use this  term.   If something goes wrong in a scene, use of RACK suggests that one knew that the behavior that they were engaging in was risky, but chose to do it anyway.

Is BDSM consent subject to the same minimum age of consent legal rules as are applied in rape case?

Yes, they do. 

Does a long term consent agreement, such as in a Master/slave relationship, constitute blanket consent for all BDSM activities?   

No Again, a scene contract is not a legal contract and a sumissive can withdraw consent at any time, regardless of the M/s contract. 


NCSF and The NCSF Foundation
 Donations to NCSF are not tax deductible. Donations to the NCSF Foundation are tax deductible for tax purposes.
822 Guilford Ave : Baltimore, MD 212202
410.539.4824 /
©NCSF 2010


 NCSF-EOP ©2011-2012

Consent: Best Pratices in BDSM

The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF) believes that the most important issue facing the BDSM/Leather/Fetish communities today is the consistent practice of courts and law enforcement officials to prosecute BDSM as criminal assault, with no defense of consent permitted.  We know that BDSM is not assault, but rather is pleasurable, loving adult erotic activity, as long as it is mutually consensual.  NCSF is leading a major national campaign—Consent Counts—to change the laws and police practices that our communities now endure, and to establish that consent is available as a defense in criminal BDSM prosecutions.

Best Practices in the BDSM/Leather/Fetish Communities

The practice of BDSM (Bondage, Discipline, and SM) consists of intimate mutually pleasurable erotic activity within the scope of informed consent.  The following “best practices” have been developed by our communities to ensure that all BDSM participants meet the standard of “safe, sane and consensual”:

 Guiding Principles

 “Safe” All participants are knowledgeable about the techniques and safety concerns involved in what they are doing, and all act in accordance with that knowledge.

“Sane” Knowing the difference between fantasy and reality, and acting in accordance with that knowledge.

“Consensual” All participants understand the nature of the activity in which they will be engaged, and the limits imposed by each participant, and respect such limits at all times.

  Best Practices

  •  Each participant should fully understand both the desires and the limits of each other participant.  Such understanding maybe based on long familiarity with the other participant(s) or, where participants are new to each other, on a full discussion in advance of the BDSM activity.
  • Consent must be clearly given to all aspects of planned BDSM activity and such consent must be freely given.
  • Each participant in a BDSM activity is free to withdraw previously given consent at any time.
  • Each participant should fully understand any limitations on another participant’s ability to understand and consent fully to the planned BDSM activity, such as age, diminished mental capacity or use of drugs or alcohol.
  • A means should be provided—normally a “safe word”—for the “bottom” to signal clearly her/his desire to terminate the activity.
  • Relationships among BDSM practitioners should be fully respected by others.  It is the responsibility of each person to make clear to others any relationship that imposes limits on that person’s participation in BDSM activities.
  • At parties or other events, the use of monitors may be advisable and rules should be clearly displayed.
  • The more intense and physical the BDSM activity is, the more important it is to ensure clear understanding of and consent to the planned activity.
  • Participants must recognize that BDSM activity resulting in serious bodily harm or that goes beyond the expectations of one of the participants may be deemed criminal, even where consent was initially given.


 NCSF and The NCSF Foundation
Donations to NCSF are not tax deductible. Donations to the NCSF Foundation are tax deductible for tax purposes.
822 Guilford Ave : Baltimore, MD 212202
410.539.4824 /
 ©NCSF 2010

 NCSF-EOP ©2011-2012

CONSENT and BDSM: The State of the Law

BDSM activity, even where clearly consensual, can be and frequently is prosecuted under state criminal laws dealing with assault, aggravated assault, sexual assault or sexual abuse. Such criminal prosecution can arise in various circumstances, including:

  • The BDSM “scene” turns out to be more intense or painful or harmful than the submissive participant anticipated, and she or he goes to the police.
  • Injury is caused that is sufficiently serious or sufficiently visible that it is brought to the attention of the police by an observer, by hospital personnel or by a friend or relative of the submissive participant.
  • The police raid a BDSM event and observe conduct that they interpret as unlawful.
  • A BDSM relationship ends, leaving the submissive partner with bad feelings, and he or she complains to the police about assault or abuse.
  • Someone with a grudge against a participant in the BDSM scene or relationship makes a complaint to the police.
  • Or pictures, videos, film or sound recordings of BDSM conduct somehow come into the hands of the police.


  The Critical Issue: Consent

The nature of the criminal offense here is that one person causes physical harm—injury and/or intense pain—to another person. It is important to understand that the law sees this as causing harm, not engaging in mutually beneficial conduct. This means that the law treats BDSM as violence, not as sex. That explains why the issue of consent is different in BDSM cases than in rape cases. In a rape case, the sex act is not viewed as criminal unless it can be shown that one party did not consent. In a BDSM case, however, the causing of physical harm is, in and of itself, criminal. The question is whether and to what extent the law will allow such criminal conduct to be excused by the fact that the injured participant consented to have harm done to her or him.

As long as courts and lawmakers put BDSM practice in the same category as criminal assault—which is a view that the “Consent Counts” campaign will try to change—it is not surprising that they will be reluctant to allow consent as a defense to anything more than minor harm or injury. And sure enough, that is the pattern shown by the court cases, even where a court is interpreting a statute that seems on its face to allow consent to be a defense in any case where there is “serious” injury. Moreover, the courts’ reluctance to allow consent as a defense is undoubtedly influenced by the general public’s misunderstanding of and adverse reaction to BDSM as a “perverse” or even “immoral” practice. 

The State Statutes—Consent as a Defense

The definitions of assault, abuse and other such crimes involving infliction of physical harm, as well as the provisions (if any) dealing with consent as a defense to such criminal charges, are matters of individual states’ laws. There is no federal law in this area. The laws vary from state to state, and many state laws on assault do not mention consent as a defense.
There are, however, a number of state assault statutes that do provide for consent as a defense. Such statutes invariably place limits on the consent defense, both in terms of the degree of harm and in terms of the way in which consent is given and the types of people who cannot legally give their consent. Many such laws closely follow the language of the Model Penal Coe’s (MPC) section on consent:

§ 2.11. Consent.

(1) In General. The consent of the victim to conduct charged to constitute an offense or to the result thereof is a defense if such consent negatives an element of the offense or precludes the infliction of the harm or evil sought to be prevented by the law defining the offense.

(2) Consent to Bodily Injury. When conduct is charged to constitute an offense because it causes or threatens bodily injury, consent to such conduct or to the infliction of such injury is a defense if:

(a) the bodily injury consented to or threatened by the conduct consented to is not serious; or

(b) the conduct and the injury are reasonably foreseeable hazards of joint participation in a lawful athletic contest or competitive sport or other concerted activity not forbidden by law; or

(c) the consent establishes a justification for the conduct under Article 3 of the Code.

(3) Ineffective Consent. Unless otherwise provided by the Code or by the law defining the offense, assent does not constitute consent if:

(a) it is given by a person who is legally incompetent to authorize the conduct charged to constitute the offense; or

(b) it is given by a person who by reason of youth, mental disease or defect or intoxication is manifestly unable or known by the actor to be unable to make a reasonable judgment as to the nature or harmfulness of the conduct charged to constitute the offense; or

(c) it is given by a person whose improvident consent is sought to be prevented by the law defining the offense; or

(d) it is induced by force, duress or deception of a kind sought to be prevented by the law defining the offense.

For our purposes the key provision in section 2.11(2)(a), which allows consent as a defense to the infliction of bodily injury where the “injury?consented to is not serious”. Thus the question that courts must decide in any given case is what is meant by “serious” injury. And on this point, the MPC offers in Section 210.0 (3) a definition that, if courts would only apply it literally, is quite helpful in the BDSM context:

Section 210.0 Definitions?

3) ”serious bodily injury” means bodily injury which creates a substantial risk of death or which causes serous, permanent disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.

Read literally, this would allow consent as a defense to most forms of BDSM practices. Breath control and certain other play might be seen by a court as creating “a substantial risk of death”. And scarification and some other forms of “extreme” or “heavy” scenes might be found to cause “serious, permanent disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of {a} bodily member or organ.” But a literal application of the MPC standard would permit consent as a defense in most assault or abuse prosecutions based on BDSM practices.

The problem is that the courts—not just some courts; all courts—consistently classify as “serious” almost any injury, no matter how slight, and even in some cases interpret the causing of significant pain, even with no physical injury, as “serious injury” to which consent cannot be given.

The Cases—Courts Refuse To Accept Consent as a Defense

To date, there is not a single appellate court decision anywhere in this country that has accepted consent as a defense in an assault or abuse prosecution arising from BDSM conduct. The following overview, from Consent to Harm by Vera Bergelson, 28 PaceLaw Review 683, at p.691, is a good summary of the case law:

Since any harmful act that does not fit into the “athletic” or “medical” exception is, by definition, criminal, unless the inflicted injury is not serious, assessment of the seriousness of the victim’s injury determines the outcome of many cases involving consensual harm. A typical penal statute classifies bodily injury as serious if it “creates a substantial risk of death or causes serious, permanent disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.” Pursuant to this definition, any short-term, non-life-threatening injury should not be deemed “serious.” Yet, as the MPC acknowledges, the assessment of the seriousness of harm is often affected by judges’ “moral judgments about the iniquity of the conduct.” Courts tend to inflate the risk and harmfulness of an activity they want to denounce. For example, any injury caused during a sadomasochistic encounter has been consistently classified as serious.

28 Pace Law Review 683, 691

An early, and typically bad, example of a pure “consent is no defense” ruling is People v Samuels, a 1967 California decision. In that case, Martin Samuels was convicted of assault based on his conduct in a film of an apparently consensual BDSM scene. The court not only rejected the consent defense, but also appeared to hold the view that any such consent would be “some form of mental aberration:

Even if it be assumed that the victim in the ‘vertical’ film did in fact suffer from some form of mental aberration which compelled him to submit to a beating which was so severe as to constitute an aggravated assault, defendant's  conduct in inflicting that beating was no less violative of a penal statute obviously designed to prohibit one human being from severely or mortally injuring another.

People v. Samuels 250 Cal.App.2d 501, 514, 58 Cal.Rptr. 439, 447 (Cal.App. 1967)

The Samuels decision was cited as recently as 2006, in People v Febrissy. In that case, the defendant’s lawyer sought to invoke the doctrine enunciated by the Supreme Court in Lawrence v. Texas, which held (in a sodomy prosecution) that, absent a compelling societal interest (and moral disapproval is not such an interest), the government cannot make private consensual sexual activity a crime. That argument was rejected.

An argument based on Lawrence v. Texas was also rejected in the Nebraska case of State v. Van, 268 Neb.814 (2004). Van was convicted of first-degree assault on the basis of an extended imprisonment and extremely intense BDSM/torture of a gay male submissive. The submissive initially consented to practices that were quite intense, but the evidence was in conflict as to whether he later withdrew that consent. On appeal, defendant Van argued that this was a case of “two adults who, with complete and mutual consent, engaged in sexual practices common to their homosexual, BDSM lifestyle” and as such was protected under Lawrence v. Texas.

Rejecting that argument, the court made three points. First, it noted that the Lawrence opinion contained a phrase that its doctrine only applies “absent injury to a person”. Second, the court emphasized that the evidence on the issue of consent was not clear-cut. Finally, and most fundamentally, the court held—citing the other decisions discussed in this paper—that consent is not a defense to a charge of assault:

Our statutes defining first and second degree assault include no reference to consent?This court has held that “all attempts to do physical violence which amount to a statutory assault are unlawful and a breach of the peace, and a person cannot consent to an unlawful assault”.

In most BDSM assault cases, the testimony of a complaining witness (the injured person) is central to the case, and often there is conflict on the issue of consent between the defendant and the complaining witness. However, even where both participants agree that the acts in question were consensual, the courts have held that consent cannot be a defense. Thus, in Commonwealth v. Appleby, a 1980 Massachusetts case, the court said:

“Grimm’s consent to assault and battery upon him by Appleby by means of a dangerous weapon cannot absolve Appleby of the crime?”Commonwealth v. Appleby, 380 Mass.296, 311, 402N.E.2d 1051,1061 (Mass. 1980).

In Iowa v. Collier, there were wildly differing accounts given of a BDSM incident, but the judge refused to let the jury consider the question of consent. The Appellate Court upheld the conviction and ruled that consent was not a defense. Significantly, the Iowa law on assault was in most ways similar to the Model Penal Code.

Provided, that where the person doing any of the above enumerated acts, and such other person, are voluntary participants in a sport, social or other activity, not in itself criminal, and such act is a reasonably foreseeable incident of such sport or activity, and does not create an unreasonable risk of serious injury or breach of the peace, the act shall not be an assault.

I.C.A. § 708.1

The court’s moralistic tone in rejecting the consent defense is a good illustration of the type of thinking that seems to underly most judges’ handling of BDSM assault cases:

The foregoing discussion compels us to conclude that, in the present case, the legislature did not intend sadomasochistic activity to be a "sport, social or other activity" under section 708.1. We are hesitant to give a precise definition of this term and believe it is more appropriate that its meaning be interpreted on a case by case basis. However, it is obvious to this court that the legislature did not intend the term to include an activity which has been repeatedly disapproved by other jurisdictions and considered to be in conflict with the general moral principles of our society. In fact, the statutory provision in question specifically excludes activities which would "create an unreasonable risk of serious injury." There can be little doubt that the sadomasochistic activities involved in this case expose persons to the very type of injury deemed unacceptable by the legislature. Were we to follow defendant's broad interpretation of "social activity," street fighting, barroom brawls and child molestation could be deemed acceptable social behavior, since such conduct is considered acceptable by some segment of society.

State v. Collier 372 N.W.2d 303, 307 (Iowa App.,1985)

People v. Jovanovic was a New York case involving an intense scene between a man and a woman who had previously engaged in extensive Internet discussion of their BDSM interests. The scene apparently went bad, and the woman went to the police. Mr. Jovanovic was tried and convicted of assault, sexual assault and kidnapping. The Court of Appeals, although it reversed the convictions on evidentiary grounds, very explicitly stated in a footnote that consent, while available as a defense to the charges of kidnapping and sexual assault, was irrelevant to the assault charge:

There is no available defense of consent on a charge of assault under Penal Law §§ 120.00[1] and 120.05[2] (contrast, Penal Law § 120.05[5] [where lack of consent is an element]). Indeed, while a meaningful distinction can be made between an ordinary violent beating and violence in which both parties voluntarily participate for their own sexual gratification, nevertheless, just as a person cannot consent to his or her own murder (see, People v. Duffy, 79 N.Y.2d 611, 584 N.Y.S.2d 739, 595 N.E.2d 814), as a matter of public policy, a person cannot avoid criminal responsibility for an assault that causes injury or carries a risk of serious harm, even if the victim asked for or consented to the act (see, e.g., State v. Brown, 154 N.J.Super. 511, 512, 381 A.2d 1231, 1232; People v. Samuels, 250 Cal.App.2d 501, 513-514, 58 Cal.Rptr. 439, 447, cert. denied, 390 U.S. 1024, 88 S.Ct. 1404, 20 L.Ed.2d 281; Commonwealth v. Appleby, 380 Mass. 296, 402 N.E.2d 1051; Iowa v. Collier, 372 N.W.2d 303).

People v. Jovanovic 263 A.D.2d 182, 198, 700 N.Y.S.2d 156, 169 (N.Y.A.D. 1 Dept.,1999)

It is important to note that the Jovanovic court cited the Samuels, Appleby and Collier decisions, confirming that the prevailing view is that there is a settled precedent, established by a series of decisions in state courts across the country, that consent is no defense to a charge of assault arising from BDSM practices.

A Few Rays of Hope

Despite the consistent refusal of state courts to recognize consent as a defense to BDSM-based assault prosecutions, there are reasons to hope that a long-term, carefully planned Consent Counts campaign can reform this area of the law.

For one thing, the U.S. Supreme Court has created a doctrine of privacy that, at least in some areas of sexual behavior, now insulates consenting couples from criminal prosecution. While the doctrine of Lawrence v. Texas (mentioned earlier in this paper) has not been applied in the BDSM context, the principle of privacy is a powerful one that works in our favor.

The Model Penal Code’s quite favorable definition of “serious injury” also has the potential for use in changing the trend of court decisions. At the very least, it gives us the starting point to argue that the consequences of BDSM should be treated no differently from other injury-causing activities.

Finally, while no decision has yet explicitly accepted the defense of consent in a BDSM-based assault prosecution, at least two courts have reversed convictions on evidentiary grounds in ways that suggest that the consent of the “victim” may have played a role in their thinking. Thus, while the Jovanovic footnote states that consent is no defense to assault charges, the court’s reversal of the conviction was based on failure to permit the use of evidence of consent, and the court reversed not only the sexual assault and kidnapping convictions (for which absence of consent is an element of the offense), but also the assault conviction. 

And, a recent Rhode Island decision, State v. Gaspar, reversed a BDSM assault conviction on evidentiary grounds that related in part to the issue of consent. While the court did not discuss the issue of consent with any specificity, the decision contains the following assessment of the central issue in the case:

The evidence adduced at the trial of this criminal case included testimony concerning a multitude of unconventional sexual practices but ultimately presented only one question for the jury's determination: did the events of the night in question constitute a mutually consensual sexual encounter between two adults or a brutal sexual assault?

State v. Gaspar 982 A.2d 140, 141 (R.I.,2009)

This is, in fact, the core issue we face in the Consent Counts campaign: Can the courts and society be brought to understand what we in the BDSM community know to be the case—namely, that what we do “constitutes a mutually consensual sexual encounter between adults” and is not “a brutal sexual assault”? If we can get that point across, then perhaps we can persuade courts and legislatures that injuries caused by bdsm should be prosecuted only when not consensual or when the injury is so severe (the Model Penal Code definition) that it constitutes an abuse of BDSM practices.

Other Legal Models for BDSM Cases

Prosecutions that grow out of BDSM incidents are generally brought under the assault statutes. This is one of the reasons, perhaps the major reason, that courts rebel against allowing the defense of consent. The essence of the crime of assault is the attack on one person by another. The concept of consenting to such an attack is, to some extent, counter-intuitive.

Some cases arising from BDSM incidents, however, have been prosecuted under the criminal charge of battery. Battery, unlike assault, does not necessarily involve an attack by one person against another. The crime of battery is injurious touching or striking of one person by another. Thus, in battery cases, there is an issue as to the context in which the injurious touching or striking occurred. As the Court of Appeals of Indiana stated in Helton v. State, 624N.E.2d499(1993) at 514, n.22:

Consent is connected with the harm or evil sought to be prevented; therefore, if the victim consents to the defendant’s touching, that touching is not rude or insolent and should not be considered unlawful unless it meets one of the exceptions to the general rule.

The exceptions to the general rule (in Indiana) that consent is a defense to battery, and specifically is a defense available in cases “involving sexual overtones”, are as follows:

(1) Where the defendant goes beyond acts consented to; (2) Where it is against public policy to permit the conduct or resulting harm even though it is consented to, as, as where there are no sexual overtones and the battery is a severe one which involves a breach of the public peace, as well as, an invasion of the victim’s physical security; (3) Where consent is ineffective as where it is obtained by fraud or from one lacking legal capacity to consent; (4) Where a deadly weapon is employed; (5) Where death results; or, (6) Where the battery is atrocious or aggravated. [Helton 624 N.E.2d at 514, citing Jaske v. State, 539N.E.2d 14, 18 (Supreme Court Indiana 1989).]

The concept here is that touching or striking, unlike an attack, is not inherently criminal. (Similarly, the conduct underlying the offense of rape—sexual intercourse—is mutually pleasurable conduct when consensual, and becomes criminal only in the absence of consent.) Thus, when that conduct is consensual, even where some injury is caused, it is more palatable to find that such consent prevents the conduct from being a criminal offense.

Our communities certainly do not view BDSM as an attack by one person on another. Rather, we see BDSM as mutually pleasurable conduct, the details of which are negotiated in advance and generally subject to agreed safe words and other protections. If we could persuade courts to adopt that view of BDSM, we might also persuade them that such cases are not appropriately prosecuted as assault, but rather as battery. Thus consent would normally be a defense—as is true in battery cases with “sexual overtones”—subject to the exceptions listed above.

This would not necessarily eliminate the moralistically motivated tendency of courts to seek reasons not to allow consent as a defense, however. In Govan v. State, 913 N.E.2d.237 (Indiana Appeals Court 2009), the defendant (Govan) was convicted of both assault and battery, based on a BDSM incident in which he “punished” the victim (A.H.) by branding her with a hot knife and whipping her with an electrical extension cord. The appellate court rejected Govan’s argument that A.H.’s consent was a defense to his conduct. First, it ruled that consent could not be a defense to the assault charge. Second, although the court acknowledged that consent was a valid defense in a battery case having “sexual overtones”, it found that the use by Govan of a knife invalidated the defense:

Turning to the case at hand it is undisputed that it involves sexual overtones. Notwithstanding those overtones, A.H.’s consent is not a defense to the crime because Govan’s actions involved a deadly weapon,...namely a knife, and therefore A.H.’s consent is not available as a defense to battery. Govan, 913 N.E.2d at 242-243.

In summary, one approach that could increase our communities’ access to a consent defense would be to persuade the courts that BDSM incidents should be prosecuted, if at all, under battery statues rather than as assault. Even in battery cases, however, we need to find ways to deal with the moralistic prejudices that lead courts to stretch for reasons to reject consent as a defense.

 The DSM Criteria—Changing Psychiatry’s View

 It is important to note that, in parallel with the Consent Counts project, the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom is working to change the way BDSM is understood by the psychiatric profession whose views influence the attitudes of the public and the courts toward our communities. Until 1994, BDSM was classified in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (the “DSM”) as a form of mental illness. With the adoption of DSM IV in 1994, this classification was modified so that today BDSM—along with cross-dressing and fetishism—is a mental illness only where it substantially alters a person’s life in a negative manner. The Association is currently engaged in a new revision, referred to as DSM V. NCSF is actively involved in this process, working to further reduce, if not remove entirely, the stigma attached to BDSM. Importantly, this new revision may result in a distinction between consensual and non-consensual BDSM. This, of course, would be consistent with and would give impetus to our political and social advocacy in the Consent Counts project.

NCSF and The NCSF Foundation
Donations to NCSF are not tax deductible. Donations to the NCSF Foundation are tax deductible for tax purposes.
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©NCSF 2010


EOP Training Update

We have so much that is exciting in our EOP!

We haven't done training since 2003 and it was time!

We have recruited and diversified the number and kind of presenters we have and we now have good coverage across the country. Post training, we will have more than 10 active professionally trained presenters.

It's hard to imagine that less than 5 years ago, we only had 6 workshops or programs we offered. Here's the current line up:

SM Groups and Law Enforcement
The Alleged Domestic Violence Call
Child Custody for BDSM Parents
Juvenile/CPS/Child Services for BDSM Parents
Protecting Yourself Legally
Police Interactions ? What to do when you deal with police
Traveling with Toys
Life And Death Planning
How to choose an attorney
Conducting SM legal research
Approaching your local law enforcement
Zoning, permits and other administrivia for SM and Swing groups
insurance issues for SM groups and events
Event/hotel negotiation
Understanding the BDSM Community (for law enforcement)
What is SM
Field guide for law enforcement
Consent Counts (PPT)
NCSF Past Present Future PPT

And that doesn't even begin to cover all the handouts and documents available!

In 2010, over 47 EOP presentations and workshops were giving across the country. If your local group or event hasn't had an NCSF trained presenter come up and do one or more of these workshops, it's time to get on board!



 Incident Response Program? 2010 Report

 Submitted by Leigha Fleming

In 2010, the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF) again took the lead in defending the rights of individuals and groups in the SM?leather?fetish, swing and polyamory communities. NCSF's coalition of over 40 educational and social groups is committed to creating a political, legal, and social environment in the United States that advances equal rights of consenting adults who practice forms of alternative sexual expression.

NCSF's Incident Response team is directed by Director Leigha Fleming. In total, over 482 individuals, groups, attorneys, prosecutors, and businesses contacted NCSF for help in 2009. Each incident sometimes required only one or two phone calls, but some evolved into much larger projects.

  • NCSF received 526 distinct inquiries/requests for assistance.
  • 307 required more than one contact/response to resolve, often requiring multiple contacts.


It is difficult to categorize many incident requests as clearly falling into one camp or another. Many overlap in categories. For example, many of our custody/divorce related issues involve at least 2 of our core constituent groups (i.e. SM/leather/fetish and poly for example). In trying to do a statistical breakdown of the requests, we placed it in the category it most clearly matched.


    • 9% or 47 were requests regarding SM/abuse/domestic violence issues
    • 39% or 204 were regarding criminal complaint issues
    • 3% or 15 were regarding employment discrimination
    • 24 % or 125 were regarding child custody/divorce issues
    • 15.5% or 81 were related to SM/leather/fetish group issues
    • 2% or 10 were classed as non?employment discrimination
    • 4% or 21 were related to swing community issues
    • 1% or 10 were regarding online obscenity issues
    • 2.5% or 13 were classed as “other”


Of the inquires:
    • 91.5% were driven by SM/leather/fetish issues,
    • 4% by swing,
    • 4% by poly,
    • 0.5% by other.

 2010 saw an increased number of requests around criminal and domestic violence or SM/abuse related issues. NCSF worked with more than 53 attorneys representing defendants in criminal cases. In addition, we worked with more than 17 district attorneys and prosecutors related to SM issues. The vast majority of these criminal cases revolved around domestic abuse or consensual sex/play issues. There is a clear need for education within our own communities about the role and limits of consent and for education to police authorities on the differences between SM and abuse. Our Consent Counts project hopes to address some of these issues. There is a great need for educational within our own communities regarding consent and a great need for change in laws related to consensual adult sexual expression.

 The implementation of KAP under NCSF’s administration resulted in fewer requests for referrals because we were able to refer the request to our site. The new administration tools for KAP in our website overhaul will also make the use of this tool much more efficient for both user and professional. In addition, NCSF has implemented new criteria for incident response. The document outlining the changes is included in the packet.

 We continue to receive a number of requests for assistance from groups, businesses, and other support organizations who want information about how to operate legally, do law enforcement outreach, file for nonprofit status, deal with the media or the press, do hotel/event outreach, or do research around zoning or other legal issues.

 We also continue to receive requests for assistance involving parents who were engaged in child custody and divorce cases. Parents continue to experience difficulties gaining child custody due to their interest in SM, swing or poly activities. NCSF worked with a number of attorneys representing parents accused of being unfit because of their alternative lifestyle interests. In many cases, because of information we were able to provide, the courts decided that alternative sexual expression alone was not cause to impugn a parent's ability to be a good parent. We have developed new workshops / FAQs for parents dealing with custody/divorce and child protective services.

 NCSF’s implementation of SalesForce has helped us manage our Incident Response requests in a significantly more professional and consistent way. It provides for direct access by someone needing help through a new customer service portal and it allows NCSF staff/volunteers to track and log all calls and action on any given request.

 NCSF is here to help you -- the SM, swing and polyamory communities. If you have a problem with  discrimination, persecution, or harassment because of your sexual expression, please call NCSF for assistance.

  • You can submit a request for assistance online or find a Kink Aware Professional (KAP) on our website as well at
  •  Emergency contact information is available by calling our office at 410.539.4824, 24 hours per day.


 Please support NCSF in our effort to change the political, legal, and social environment in the United States.
We are committed to making a difference.
Join NCSF as a member or please hold a fund?raiser and donate to NCSF!

NCSF and Foundation Income Stmt

Revised 3-11 2011 Budget





Candidates for Elected Board Seats

 Jim Fleckenstein

 Mr. Fleckenstein was a founder of the Institute for 21st Century Relationships, which became  the NCSF Foundation in 2006, and has served on the NCSF Board since that time. He had a nearly thirty year career managing charitable and membership nonprofit organizations, and his expertise has benefited more than 40 nonprofits through his service as chief executive, staff member, volunteer leader, speaker, writer, consultant, or instructor. He is also a co-founded of the Chesapeake Polyamory Network, which has been a Coalition Partner of NCSF until CPN's disbanding in 2010.

 He holds a Bachelor’s degree with honors in Mass Communications/Politics and Public Affairs (double major) from the University of Miami, and a Certificate in Association Management from the University of Maryland. He is presently enrolled in the Master of Public Health degree program of the Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Sexuality in San Francisco.

 Mr. Fleckenstein is a member of both the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT) and the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality (SSSS), and has been selected to present at four AASECT national conferences and at the 2003 SSSS Eastern/Mid-Continent Region Conference. He co-founded AASECT's AltSex Special Interest Group. He is the author of the section on polyamory in the United States chapter of the Continuum Complete International Encyclopedia of Sexuality, and co-edited NCSF's pamphlet, "What Psychology Professionals Should Know About Polyamory."


Kevin Carlson

Mr. Carlson currently serves as the director of NCSF’s KAP program and as the IT/Web director as well as an active board member. He also currently serves as a board member and events coordinator of Boise Pride. In the past he has served in several positions for BBDSMS (Boise BDSM Society), as President, he successfully applied for 501(c)(3) status. Additionally, he has  served on the board of TCC, a local GLBT community center and other non-profit organizations, Ducks Unlimited and the Idaho Retriever Club, which he had been a part of since his youth.

Professionally, he currently owns a construction company that focuses on residential and commercial remodeling. Past positions include owner of a property management company, facilities management and computer network consultant.

His focus in the communities is on acceptance and bringing the voice of acceptance to all. Part of what is going to provide acceptance is education to those who may not be aware. Without education tolerance is out of the question. We are just people like anyone else, with jobs, families, friends and all those bills. I believe in the voice of the NCSF and its activities to further acceptance for all.


John Baku

John Baku is the founder and owner of Fetlife. With a commitment to developing a safe space for all people involved in all facets of consensual adult BDSM, leather, fetish, and alternative sexuality, Fetlife has a membership worldwide well over 600,000 people and it's growing. Fetlife has been a long time supporter of NCSF and the work it does. John has technical and business expertise and would be a welcome addition to the NCSF board.



Currently serves as the Executive Director of CPI in Nashville ( and has served in that capacity since this 501(c)(7) non-profit was incorporated in 2003. In this capacity he was the driving force in opening "The Mark" as a top-tier BDSM community center, open every Friday and Saturday night and operating in the black since its inception in August of 2005. Munches, educational events, lending library, and outreach programs to mental health professionals all derive from his desire to foster a stronger Middle Tennessee BDSM family.

In addition, Mercury has served the wider community as a regional speaker, having presented to a fourteen groups in eight states, DomCon, Frolicon, and LLC; and he runs the CPI website, yahoo group and related social networking vectors. In fact, he currently assists the NCSF as the caretaker of its FetLife group.

Professionally, Mercury serves as a Corporate Sales and Marketing Program Manger, but past work titles have included Director of Business Development, Director of Engineering, Principal Technologist, and President with companies ranging from large established aerospace firms to entrepreneurial high-tech start-ups.


Julian Wolf

At the turn of the century, Julian Wolf discovered and quickly became involved with the alternative community. Participating and performing at her first event, she quickly found her passion for service.

In 2003 she co-founded New Mexico: the Next Generation (NM:TNG) and ran the business of the group as Chairman for seven years before stepping down before her 30th birthday. Julian served as the first Ms. Rio Grande Leather (2004) and has assisted with every annual conference in various capacities. In 2005, the New Mexico Leather League (NMLL) was formed.

A charter, and still current member, Julian served on the board for five consecutive terms. In 2006, she won Albuquerque Pride’s title of “Ms New Mexico Pride” and met or exceeded the goals for that year. In 2008, Julian took a position as Administrative Assistant with Equality New Mexico (EQNM), New Mexico's statewide LGBT advocacy organization and served full time until she left  in good standing.

As a wordsmith, Julian writes Carnal Conundrums, a Sex Positive Advice Column for New Mexico launched online in early 2009, is a freelance writer for the Weekly Alibi and is contributes both a column (the Hedonist Dandy) and the occasional article for Fearless Press. In 2010, she also started working on-call for the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF). Julian is also a educator; offering classes and workshops locally, nationally, and as a member of the Kink Academy faculty, virtually.

An egalitarian sadomasochistic dandy, Julian is a heavy switch who loves to play and has a particular affinity for impact in addition to fetishes for feet and hair. Julian looks to surround herself with fun loving, intelligent people who know how to ask for what they want and are serious about their passions. Please feel free to peruse to learn more.




 Forms Library Report

In December of 2009 the Board and Coalition Partners started sending me different forms to add to our “Document Library”, this library will be in a CP only area of the new website for the use of our Coalition Partners. So far I have received 19 forms; some are the same type of document, but with different phrasing. I have been going through the documents and removing the originating group names and trying to put them into a consistent format as they come in. These documents will be a wonderful tool for everyone. While a lot of them deal with legal issues, there is always the disclaimer to check with your attorney to make sure that whatever document it is matches your local laws.

Types of documents that have been sent for the Library:


    • Play Party and Dungeon Rules
    • Agreement and Release of Liability
    • Application for Admission to ____ Event (Temporary member)
    • A combined rules and release form
    • Disclaimer and Release Forms
    • Membership applications
    • Model release
    • Photographer agreement
    • Event registrations
    • Staff and volunteer code of conduct
    • Volunteer handbook
    • Volunteer waivers


We hope that this resource will continue to grow. If you have any documents that would be helpful for other groups, please send them to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for inclusion in the library. I will remove the originating group before publishing on the website. Documents such as; bylaws, articles of incorporation, mission statements, and anything else that a group may need will be welcome.



2012 Proposed Budget





Web/It Report , Annual Meeting 2011


From: Kevin Carlson

 This has been a busy as well as complex year for our website. The short of it, we have a total new look and feel on our website.

 The long of it, we have made a long series of changes and are in the home stretch!

 ONE: First, we upgraded the website software from Joomla 1.0 to Joomla 1.5, and also changed hosting companies, in order to come into compliance with the Payment Card Industry (PCI) security regulations necessary to process credit cards online.  Our website now meets security standards and routinely passes a full security intrusion scan from a PCI authorized security vendor. is now a secure website with the corresponding certifications needed.  If this initial website upgrade had not been completed, we would not be able to legally accept credit cards online under our merchant processing contract.

 During this first project, we also had to reformat the website with a new template that was compatible with the upgraded software. This gave us our site a minor face lift. The new template made things clearer overall and provided a lot more flexibility as to what and how we could handle content.

 TWO: Once first project was done, the website team performed two public surveys, one centered around general website feedback, the other on the Kink Aware Professionals Directory. The survey was made available online, and distributed to all in our mailing list in Constant Contact, including our KAP listings. The survey provided valuable feedback and ideas regarding the future look and feel of our site.  This was the beginning of the planning of what we see today in the new site design and organization.

 THREE: Next, we imported the Wordpress blog into a Joomla blog, and converted all of the existing entries into the new format. Our staff was trained on how to use the new Blog integrated directly in the website. We no longer have site visitors going just to Wordpress, but instead coming to the main website where they can learn much more about our organization and activities.

 FOUR: For the next project, we totally overhauled and re-designed the KAP section of our site. Many hours went into the design and reformation of data to accomplish this. For a more detailed account of what happened, see my KAP report in the annual meeting packet.  A lot of the changes were driven by the survey results. The information now available to the public is so much more expansive and accurate it is amazing to me; we now present a very professional looking face. The KAP section of our site is the most used resource we offer, with by far the highest visitor rate each month.  The KAP is now something we can effectively take to market and by such increase our number of listings and exposure to the world.

 FIVE: Today what you see is the brand new, just launched website design. It is a total overhaul and re-design, with a good amount of the changes being provided from the survey we did and feedback from our board. has come a long way from the fairly simple format a year ago that was very difficult to work with and limited in its capability, particularly in respect with images, video and other forms of media. Today we have launched a media rich, searchable, well-thought out site with a total new face to the public. It’s a more dynamic look and feel, and provides a significantly improved sitemap for our website guests. We have went from just a basic manual link system to software that now allows us to keyword and tag almost all of our content, providing a very interlinked site. What this means for us, we can now by keyword include content from one gathering page not only on that page but several other pages that are of similar content based on keywords. In many cases, portions of the site will auto-populate based on the keywords used, reducing site maintenance. In example, we do for Consent Counts a page containing legal resources and reports. By keywording this content, not only does the content appear on the Consent Counts page, but also can be more easily displayed on our library page and legal resource pages. Also, the content, where appropriate, has been brought into the new website.

 A few highlights:

 Our new header for all our pages is a brand new, bolder look, with a more modern navigation system that doesn’t drop down and cover up the content.

New Header


The front page, with keywording, will be able to give brief summary and immediate updates for the Blog, newsletters, programs and other important initiatives.  We also have the ability to choose a few “headlines” that can show up in a banner right under the menu, providing a simple way for people to stay current with us and what we are doing.  

New Headlines


To better share the important work that NCSF does, our homepage also includes a Tabs area where important content can be accessed quickly for Consent Counts, Media Updates, and more. From this tab, you can get directly to the program as well as its latest content by the tags within the tab.

New Tabs


I can go on and on about the changes, these are only a few of the highlights. The most important goals were to meet the needs that were revealed by the web design survey – a website that was simple to navigate, able to handle multi-media, and manage content in an effective productive way that promoted our individual programs and NCSF as a whole.

 SIX – Pulling it all together: Our project priorities for the next few weeks after the Annual Meeting, which will close the website project out completely, are:

  • Make minor updates and tweaks based on feedback received and operation of the site itself to the appearance, verbiage and feel of our site. Given the hundreds of pages impacted and the major site overhaul that was performed to redesign and organize our website, there are bound to be a few minor bugs to work out, and improvements that can be made after observing the site in action for a short while.
  • Begin populating our new private Coalition Partner-only area of the website with content. We will be adding information and downloads that will only be available online for CPs. We welcome your suggestions and ideas for what you would find most valuable in this area.
  • Lastly, now that the site has been completely redesigned and is live, we have some final work to complete on the backend to take full advantage of SalesForce integration. This integration will automatically update important information between the website and SalesForce, further improving the accuracy of information and reducing workload for our staff.  We are now focusing on completing our data standardization, transfer protocols, the exact information we want where and the timing of when updates between the systems will occur.  We will be bringing up the integration in stages, with KAP and Donation and Membership areas first, followed by the CP/SM and other data second. When this final project is complete, work that was being done by several people will be consolidated to one, as the information will automatically populate either our website or SalesForce, as the information dictates. 





National Coalition for Sexual Freedom

 Why Should You Care?


Because your sexual expression: 

  • Can result in discrimination, prosecution, and even violence against you
  • Can cause you to lose your children
  • Can cause you to lose your job or your income
  • Can lead you into a maze of antiquated laws and regulations you never even knew existed
  • Is arbitrarily criminalized by state and local authorities
  • Is used by the radical right to marginalize minority groups
  • Can result in the invasion of your privacy by the government, both within your own home or in educational, social and group environments


What We Do: 

  • Work to change antiquated laws
  • Work to change the social climate about sexual issues
  • Promote acceptance of safe, sane, and consensual alternative sexual practices among consenting adults
  • Oppose censorship of consensual sexual expression
  • Fight for freedom of academic expression about sexual issues
  • Help communities and individuals facing the threat of prosecution or legal action
  • Support the right of adults to express their sexuality, gender identity and orientation freely and openly without fear
  • Learn more about NCSF


 Who We Are: 

  • A nationwide advocacy and lobbying coalition
  • A member of the National Policy Roundtable
  • A national outreach organization, educating law enforcement, health care and psychiatric professionals
  • A media advocacy and training organization working to change negative portrayals of normal, alternative sexual practices among consenting adults
  • A lobbying organization working to change antiquated and punitive sex laws on a local and national level
  • A resource you can contact when discrimination or persecution related to sexual practices among consenting adults threatens you or your community


What is Consensual Alternative Sexual Expression?

Consensual alternative sexual expression includes the full range of non-traditional sexual expression practiced lovingly by millions of Americans, including sodomy, SM-leather-fetish activities, swinging, cross-dressing and various other interests. While professionals now recognize these forms of sexual expression as "normal", including the American Psychiatric Association, negative social stigmas and incorrect myths still exist. Further, these negative perceptions are fueled constantly by the radical right and sensationalized by the media and entertainment industry, making discrimination, violence and persecution against practitioners more likely. While NCSF supports a broad range of sexual freedom and sexual minority issues, our principal focus is on the large and growing SM-leather-fetish community. The 1990 Kinsey New Report on Sex found that 5%-10% of the adult U.S. population engages in SM practices. Our own 1998 Violence and Discrimination Survey found that 30% of SM-leather-fetish practitioners had suffered from various forms of discrimination, and 36% have encountered violence or harassment.


How Can You Help?

You and your organization can also volunteer to participate in NCSF activities, ranging from simply writing letters to the media and government officials, to community outreach and strategy sessions to address local or national issues. And, you don't need to be "out of the closet" to volunteer. The NCSF media updates and action alerts, to which you can subscribe without charge ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ), carries detailed information on NCSF actions as well as weekly mainstream news on issues related to alternative sexual expression and sexual freedom.

Join NCSF!

Is your group or organization committed to protecting freedom of sexual expression among consenting adults? Contact us about becoming a member of NCSF to contribute to our lobbying, outreach, and educational efforts to promote a greater understanding of sexuality, sexual issues, and human rights. NCSF has several levels of membership for groups and organizations. To find out more, write to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call 410-539-4824.

Become an Individual Member Today!

NCSF needs the support of everyone who wants to ensure that all consenting adults can express their sexuality freely and openly, without fear.





NCSF 3 Minute Speech (or less!)


The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom has been fighting for your rights for the past 14 years, and we are changing the way society views kinky people.

NCSF has taken the lead in two vital projects:

- Our DSM Revision Project has successfully lobbied the American Psychiatric Association, resulting in their proposal to depathologize BDSM in the next Diagnostic & Statistics Manual.

- NCSF also took over leadership in the nationwide Consent Counts project, working to decriminalize BDSM and create a database of relevant state laws.

And as always, NCSF helps thousands of people through our ongoing programs:

- Our Kink Aware Professionals free referral service gives you a place to find a wide range of service professionals who are accepting of alt sex.

- The Media Outreach Program gives interviews to debunk stereotypes about BDSM, swinging and polyamory, and trains our constituents to be spokespeople for our communities.

- The Education Outreach Program gives dozens of workshops around the country on how to protect yourself, your group, and your business.

- On top of all that, NCSF’s Incident Response program helps almost 500 people a year who are suffering from discrimination and persecution because of their swinging, polyamory or BDSM behavior.

A dedicated group of volunteers does this work on a very small budget, with only one part?time office employee. We need your help to succeed in our fight for our rights, so please give a donation or throw a fundraiser for NCSF.

NCSF supports you, now it’s time to support NCSF!


Click hear to view a PDF of the meeting package

Published in Annual Meeting Notes

Swing Groups & Law Enforcement: Group Issues
It is important for swing groups and businesses to have an understanding of the relationship between the swing community and law enforcement, as well as the numerous legalities that can effect group functions. Once this is accomplished, your group can dispel myths, educate members, and constructively interact with law enforcement as the need arises. This presentation will focus on three aspects:

  1. interacting with local law enforcement,
  2. avoiding legal trouble, and
  3. group considerations.





Approaching Your Local Authorities
The purpose of this presentation is to educate law enforcement, prosecutors, or other authorities about SM-Leather- Fetish and/or swing practices on behalf of a local group(s).  NCSF's goal in presenting this material is to help local group(s) to develop a positive relationship with their local authorities.  The contents and delivery method of the outreach presentation are designed on a case-by-case basis.  We suggest that local groups work together when presenting info
to local officials.

PDF Coming Soon





Zoning for SM & Swing Groups and Businesses
Zoning and permit issues are commonly used as a tool of local governments when seeking a method to attack SM groups and businesses.  Typical "crimes" such as indecent exposure, lewd conduct, and the like are subject to interpretation by the police, prosecutor, and courts.  Successful prosecution is
certainly possible but not guaranteed.  Zoning and permit violations tend to be very cut and dry comparatively.  For this reason, administrative issues are frequently used as tools to either move or shut down SM activities.   
It is important for our community to have an understanding of these administrative rules in order to safely organize and maintain SM activities and functions.  Zoning and permits vary greatly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.  This discussion will attempt address these issues in a general, overview
fashion.  The attendees will benefit from the experiences of the panelists who have all dealt with legal and/or scene?related administrative issues.   
There are numerous licensing, zoning, and permit requirements at all levels of government ? federal, state, regional, county and city.  It's not easy to determine what licenses and permits you'll need, but it's very important.  You should thoroughly research this issue if your SM organization or business may come under the scrutiny of law enforcement or local authorities.  If you ignore these issues, you may face expenses and hassles you hadn't anticipated, and certainly don't desire.
Administrative (zoning, permit, and license) requirements can affect where you locate your organization or business, limit or require some remodeling, whether or not you'll have to provide off? street parking, whether you can serve alcohol, whether you can charge admission at the door, etc.  If requirements are too restrictive you might decide to avoid the hassle and move to another jurisdiction ? if you find one that has fewer restrictions.   Each jurisdiction has its own system of licensing, zoning, and permits. Obviously, it's impossible to provide a comprehensive list of every permit and license in every jurisdiction, so we must address items in general.


PDF coming soon

The mission of the NCSF Foundation and its Education Outreach Program is to provide members of the SM-Leather-Fetish, swing and polyamory communities educational information concerning relevant legal, medical and other issues. To provide education, as appropriate, to law enforcement, care providers, and other authorities about alternative sexuality, and to assist and support the outreach and education efforts of local communities.


The EOP has the following goals:

  • To support efforts and goals of the NCSF Foundation.
  • To assist SM-Leather-Fetish, swing and polyamory groups and communities in their efforts to educate themselves about legal issues that affect their communities and individual relationships
  • To assist alternative sexuality groups and communities by providing relevant, up-to-date information about dealing with law enforcement and other authorities, and assist them in working with their local law enforcement and other authorities
  • To provide law enforcement and other government authorities with information about alternative sexuality as appropriate
  • To assist alternative sexuality groups and communities in their efforts to educate and work with their local law enforcement and other authorities
Published in Educational Outreach


National Coalition for Sexual Freedom



Marching Forward: NCSF proactively advocates for sexual freedom


November 19, 2008 - NCSF is proud to be the only group in the country with a national mission committed to changing the political, legal and social environment for those involved with the BDSM, swing and polyamory communities. The new board of NCSF was voted in at the annual Coalition Partner meeting held in Atlanta in September: Leigha Fleming is the new Chairwoman of NCSF, and new board members Laura

Carlson (Secretary), Klawdya Rothschild, Tim Murray, and Ron Zimmerman have joined existing board members Vivienne Kramer (Treasurer), Jim Duvall, Jim Fleckenstein, and Howie Zusel.


NCSF has directly helped tens of thousands of practitioners, businesses and groups since its founding in 1997. NCSF's newest project is the DSM Revision Project: Kinky is NOT a Diagnosis! The DSM Revision Petition is gathering signatures from individuals and organizations calling on the American Psychiatric Association (APA) to adhere to empirical research when revising the diagnoses in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). Susan Wright is working directly with the DSM revision committee to ensure that healthy BDSM practitioners and cross-dressers are not misdiagnosed under the DSM criteria.



Incident Response
's Incident Response team is directed by Leigha Fleming ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ). Over 600 individuals, groups, attorneys, prosecutors, and businesses contact NCSF for help every year because of persecution or discrimination. This year NCSF assisted both Folsom Street Fair with media relations, and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force's Creating Change conference when they were attacked for presenting Guy Baldwin with a "Leather Leadership Award". This continues our practice of fighting religious political extremists and performing outreach to local communities and authorities.



Media Outreach Project
's Media Outreach Program provides sound bites, media statements and proven tactics for anyone speaking to the media about sexual freedom issues. Spokesperson Susan Wright ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) regularly gives media trainings and conducts over 60 interviews every year, influencing the coverage of alternative sexuality in the mainstream media. The NCSF Media Updates feature articles about BDSM, swinging and polyamory, and provides contact information to write letters to the editor in order to influence how editorial decisions are made in the future.



Kink Aware Professionals (KAP)
NCSF's Kink Aware Professionals (KAP) free referral list was started by Race Bannon who gave NCSF custody of the list in 2006. James Huesmann ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) is currently the director for the KAP program. Please request NCSF's KAP brochure for your members. NCSF actively recruits psychotherapeutic, medical, and legal professionals nationwide for this list, ensuring that community members can access professionals who are knowledgeable about and sensitive to diverse expressions of sexuality.



Legal Committee
's Legal Advocacy team is led by John ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ), with pro bono lawyers researching current laws and creating Amicus Briefs to submit to courts in cases involving obscenity prosecutions, "consent is not a defense to assault", and right to freedom of assembly. NCSF's Communications Decency Act lawsuit with Barbara Nitke made history by challenging the Miller standard of obscenity as it applies to the Internet.



Education Outreach Program
The Education Outreach Program (EOP) is run under the Institute for 21st Century Relationships by The Foundation of
NCSF. ITCR supports the freedom of consenting adults to discover and to practice the intimate relationship structure that best meets their emotional and human needs. The EOP educates law enforcement officials, and our constituents about the risks of selective enforcement and how to minimize the risk of becoming a target. NCSF has published a number of pieces of literature for this program and has trained a team of individuals from across the country to deliver 10 educational presentations from "Traveling With Toys" to "How to Protect Your Event."



For over a decade,
NCSF has formed valuable alliances with other advocacy organizations to work on projects that defend sexual freedom rights: Free Speech Coalition, the ACLU, American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists, the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, and the Gay and Lesbian Activist Alliance, among others. Susan Wright is on the Advocacy Committee of the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists.


NCSF is a member of the organizing committee for the Sex Positive Journalism Awards, along with journalist Miriam Axel-Lute and activists from The Center for Sex & Culture. The first award ceremony for the Sexies was held in New York City on October 4, 2008 ( NCSF also participates in


Consent Counts, a group formed at Creating Change 2007 to take on the work of decriminalizing Leather/kink/fetish/BDSM consensual adult behavior (


Currently NCSF has 56 Coalition Partners who elect the board and establish the yearly goals at the annual Coalition Partner meeting. Coalition Partners are groups and businesses that serve BDSM, swing and polyamory practitioners. NCSF also has nearly 100 Supporting Members - groups and businesses who actively support NCSF - totaling tens of thousands of members. You can also become an individual member for $25, which goes directly to supporting NCSF programs and projects.



Aside from part-time Office Manager Levi Halberstadt ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ), the staff of
NCSF consists of dozens of volunteers around the country. Every dollar that is donated to NCSF and ITCR goes to directly serving the alt sex communities. All donations to ITCR-NCSF are tax deductible.


In the past decade, alternative sexual expression has become much more visible to the general public, bringing about an increasing number of attacks. The success of this fight depends on your support. You can become an individual member of NCSF, volunteer to join the NCSF staff, make a donation to NCSF, initiate or help out at a fund-raiser for NCSF, and encourage your group to become a Coalition Partner of NCSF. Every step you take helps us further the sexual freedom movement!


Check out these exciting projects on the NCSF website at:


A joint Project of NCSF and ITCR: The Foundation of NCSF

Published in Press Releases
Get help now from NCSF's Incident Response!

Incident Reporting & Response: We're Making a Difference

  • Helps hundreds of people every year who need assistance because of their consensual BDSM, swinging, or polyamory interests and activities.
  • Connects individuals, groups, and events with resources that can help them including other NCSF programs like KAP, Media Outreach, and the Educational Outreach Program.
GIVE Now - Help NCSF continue to provide support to those in need of assistance
Help NCSF help you

About Incident Reporting & Response

The NCSF Incident Reporting &  Response (IRR) program provides assistance to individuals and groups within the alternative sexual expression communities who become victimized because of SM, leather, fetish, or swing practices.

Program Goals:
NCSF's Incident Reporting & Response
was created to provide assistance to individuals and groups within the BDSM, swinging and poly communities who are experiencing discrimination or needs assistance because of their interests and activities.
Request For Assistance Form
Emergency Number: (410) 539-4824

JOIN Now - Help your community, become a member!
Help your community - become a member!